The new Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, is not a DIC-head — he’s a DIAC-head, according to the department’s official spokesman.

The acronym for the newly named Department of Immigration and Citizenship is DIAC, department spinner Sandi Logan has told Crikey. “I hope this settles those of you (including readers) excited by the various permutations and salutations being generated by the semantics (and antics) associated with this renaming”.

So is it Commonwealth Government style to promote “and” to the big league? Not according to the example of DIAC’s predecessor, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA). And judging by other Commonwealth Departments’ acronyms, the precedent for dropping the “and” is strong:

  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)
  • Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA)
  • Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST)
  • Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR)
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
  • Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR)
  • Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH)
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC)

The exception to the rule appears to be the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS), but in this case buying a vowel makes sense — the acronym would be unpronounceable without it. The same couldn’t be said for DIC, even if some might find it hard to swallow.

As for the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs(FaCSIA), it’s surely an anomaly.

Meanwhile, the new Department of Environment and Water Resources is a body in search of an acronym. The name is currently “being determined”, Malcolm Turnbull’s office told Crikey this morning. When we asked who would be making such an important decision, staff became cagey, only saying that it will not be the choice of a “single person” but “a collective decision”.

Given that DEWR is already taken, perhaps DEW would be appropriate.

Peter Fray

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